Clinch County rehires five-time state champion head coach Jim Dickerson to lead football program

Clinch County High School has announced the hiring of former head football coach Jim Dickerson back to the school to take over the football program once again.

Dickerson previously coached Clinch County from 2004-2018 and won five state championships with the Panthers.

“It certainly means a lot to me,” said Dickerson. “ A lot of people, not just myself, have put a lot of work and a big part of their lives into the Clinch County School Systems and to our athletic program. I am very honored to come in here and be a part of it, an active part in it, I have always been a part of it even in retirement, but to be actively involved, I am very excited and humbled. Right now to say I am not a little bit overwhelmed would not be fully truthful. I never would have dreamed it would happen again, I didn’t have any desire really to be a head coach again anywhere and never dreamed that I would get the opportunity at Clinch County again, so I am certainly excited right now.”

During retirement, Dickerson spent most of his time fishing and traveling while remaining an avid fan of the Clinch County football program. He explained how he was fortunate to remain close friends with Don Tison Jr. and the Tison family as Donald Tison Sr. helped mentor Dickerson into the coach he is today.

“I was mainly a fan,” said Dickerson. “The former head coach, Coach Tison, is a dear friend of mine. His dad was one of my mentors, him and Cecil Barber who were the coaches together were two of the most influential people in my life and I still stay in contact with Don and just mainly just being a fan. I guess my biggest role was being supportive from a fan standpoint and our program has been in really good hands with Don Tison Jr. He’s done a very good job and that’s what I am very fortunate about and I hope to continue to do the things he has built on.”

In his coaching career, Dickerson has spent all 15 seasons with Clinch County and holds a record of 152-44, averaging a little over 10 wins a season. Dickerson is responsible for nine double-digit win seasons as Clinch County’s head football coach.

In his very first season with the program in 2004, Dickerson led the Panthers to a 13-1 record and won the regional and state championship. The Panther defense only allowed a total of 98 points on the season over a 14-game span, excelling on the defensive side of the ball.

Of his five state championships, Dickerson won three in four years (2015, 2017, 2018). Though they missed the state championship in 2016, the Panthers went 11-2 and won the region championship before being eliminated in the semifinals at the hands of McIntosh County Academy. Though they accumulated double-digit wins for the second season in a row last year, Dickerson hopes to return Clinch County to glory by helping the Panthers get over the hump by winning the state championship.

“The only thing I really know is that obviously we had a lot of talent, and we worked hard. I think one of the ingredients is still there, we have been blessed throughout the years with talented kids here at Clinch County and I think that is certainly the case again. The other ingredient we have to throw in there is hard work and we’re going to do that,” said Dickerson.

In his long-tenured coaching career, Dickerson missed the state playoffs just one time in 2012 and has been eliminated in the first round only once.

In a successful first stint with Clinch County, Dickerson’s 2010 Panthers won the coaches second state championship after going 15-0 on the season, becoming the third coach in program history to have an undefeated season.

Dickerson is replacing Tison who was hired to take Dickerson’s position in 2019. Tison announced his resignation to the school two weeks ago.

As the Clinch County head coach once again, Dickerson knows the expectations that come with the position and what the program means to the school and the community.

“I think this is one of the great things about coaching in Clinch County is that there is a high expectation every year. Besides some sleepless nights for a coach, that’s a great thing to have, I believe that you tend to live up to your expectations. If you have high expectations usually your kids rise to that, if you have low expectations they will live down to that. I think with the kids and the community, the expectations are high every year, that makes our job a lot easier. They understand how important high school football is in our town and we cherish that,” said Dickerson.

Now back at the helm of the Clinch County football program, Dickerson looks to bring the Panthers back to where he left them in 2018 when they were coming off of back-to-back Class A state championships.



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